Remote access Canadian border program set to resume

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DULUTH, Minn. (AP) — A program that allows people to cross into remote areas of Canada without reporting to border officials is expected to resume in the coming days.

The Canada Border Services Agency told Minnesota Public Radio News that it has notified stakeholders that the program will restart soon and that the reopening date will be posted on its website once it has been confirmed.

Resuming the program that was suspended in May of 2020 as COVID-19 took hold will provide an economic boost to resorts and businesses in northern Minnesota, including those that offer canoe trips into Quetico Provincial Park.

The park’s website said the program is set to resume on July 8, and that the Canadian border agency would begin to accept applications in the coming weeks.

The suspension of the remote permits for more than two years has had “a huge impact on us and the Boundary Waters,” said Mike Prom, co-owner of Voyageur Canoe Outfitters at the end of the Gunflint Trail.

It will likely be a few weeks before canoeists begin crossing the border into Quetico, Prom said, since it typically takes about three weeks to receive the permits in the mail. He said travelers may also be able to drive to the border to get permits.

The remote crossing permits are valid for areas along the Minnesota border with Ontario, from the Pigeon River to Lake of the Woods, in the Northwest Angle area, and along the Canadian shore of Lake Superior.